Over the years at Reveneer, I’ve had a lot of exposure to both the successes and failures of reps making outbound calls. With experience in the role myself, as well as listening to others around the office on the phones, I’ve noticed those who have excelled in this position have two characteristics in common; discipline and persistence. When combined, these two qualities can be very effective for setting sales reps up for success.

Discipline: Sales reps are constantly catching their prospects off guard. Whether they’re sitting at their desk, on the road, or running around in between meetings, prospects are not expecting your call when they pick up that phone. Disciplined sales reps will give enough information to get the prospect interested, uncover some sort of need, and qualify them in this short 2-5 minute discussion. Even though you may have all of the answers to some of their questions, it’s important to know when to get out and schedule another call. This discipline takes time to develop, but once applied can be very effective.

Persistence: Depending on who you are targeting, on average it can take up to 10, 15, or even 20 or more dials for a rep to engage with a prospect. Calling or emailing a prospect once or twice with no response does not mean they are not interested. Staying positive and persistent until you have a real conversation is important.

When you reach a prospect on the phone, there are four potential outcomes of an inside sales call. For each outcome, disciplined and persistent reps find an opportunity to maximize their chances for success.

  1. The best is when everything goes smoothly. The rep gave just enough information and uncovered a need to move their willing prospect along to the desired next step in the sales process.
  2. At the other end of the spectrum – the hang up. Persistent sales reps don’t let these instances get to them. Instead, they stay positive and focus on making their next call a good one.

The other two outcomes are a bit more complex where reps’ attitude, preparation, persistence, and discipline can really pay off.

  1. A decent call – those productive conversations with prospects that don’t quite get to the next step. They key here is to not press too hard. Leave yourself an opening for another conversation by offering to send relevant information and follow up with them, preferably a couple days out. Be sure to make it clear to them when exactly you are going to follow up and reiterate that in the email you send. This is important because prospects notice the follow-through — sometimes that’s all you need to get them to the next step.
  2. Lastly, there are tough calls that for whatever reason just don’t go well. You catch the prospect at a bad time or don’t bring your ‘A’ game. One good tactic to make the best of a bad situation is to send them a short email smoothing things over and explaining exactly why you were calling. Try it; you’ll be surprised how many of these you can turn around and put in the win column.

Being a BDR is a tough job with good days, bad days, and all types of calls. Using a smart and persistent approach, and always seeking out those openings – no matter how narrow they might be – will set you up for success now and in the future.